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Old April 1st, 2014, 08:58 AM   #3521
_Night City Dream_
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Kowloon bay station.











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Old April 1st, 2014, 05:29 PM   #3522
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Should be Ngau Tau Kok station.

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Kowloon bay station.










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Old April 1st, 2014, 11:40 PM   #3523
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Maybe I'm wrong. But I don't remember getting off at Ngau Tau Kok.
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Old April 2nd, 2014, 10:59 AM   #3524
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The exterior pictures are also from Ngau Tau Kok.
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Old April 2nd, 2014, 01:16 PM   #3525
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Ok, thanks for correction.
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Old April 3rd, 2014, 12:03 PM   #3526
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We're out in front for people on the move
The Standard
Thursday, April 03, 2014

Hong Kong's public transport system is again rated the world's best after a study taking in 84 cities.

But the top ranking in "Future of Urban Mobility" from consultancy Arthur D Little has cautions for the road ahead.

The SAR's mobility has been shaped largely by the MTR Corp, it's noted, and improvements need more cooperation with others. It also lags in sharing cars and bikes.

Following a table-topping ride in the last survey, in 2011, the SAR had 58.2 points out of 100. Stockholm followed with 54.7.

Among perceived high points for Hong Kong was that public transport provides 64 percent of needs, the number of vehicles per capita is among the lowest in the survey, and smart-card penetration stands at 3.1 per person.

Car ownership is low at 73 per 1,000 people, and walking makes up 28 percent of getting around.

Hong Kong does even better in performance factors, the survey finds. They include "a low level of transport-related emissions per capita, a low rate of traffic-related deaths, and a respectable mean travel time to work."

Stockholm stands out for one of the best networks of cycle paths. "Its bike lane network is the third most dense in the world."

Of the 11 cities with above- average performances, all are in Europe except for Hong Kong and Singapore, which is sixth.

Third is Amsterdam, where cycling comprises 33 percent of transport. The city also has the second best car-sharing figure.

Cities following on are Copenhagen, Vienna, Paris, Zurich, London, Helsinki and Munich. Of other Asian cities, Wuhan was at 14, Seoul at 18 and Tokyo at 19.

Overall, the study says a very best city would have affordability like in Hong Kong, air quality as good as Stockholm's, cycling in Amsterdam, be as safe as Copenhagen, bike sharing at the levels of Brussels and Paris, a public transport service as frequent as the London Tube, car sharing as in Stuttgart, and as minor an impact on climate as Wuhan.

But "less than half of the potential of urban mobility systems is unleashed," the report adds. "Action is needed, and fast."
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Old April 3rd, 2014, 04:45 PM   #3527
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A study that ranks Stockholm above Tokyo? Would love to read this study...

EDIT: Just read it. Sounds like a bunch of justifications and nonsense points in some cases. Sorry, but all these "figures" they pull out mean nothing when it comes to ease and/or "pleasantness" of using a system and getting around a city. I would take the network in many cities above that in Stockholm anyday - a car will beat public transport quite often for time by a factor of 4. Even today, I cycled to work in 20 minutes. Public transport takes 45 minutes. That says that there are MASSIVE improvements to be made here, yet we scored so high... Pfftftftftftft.

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Old April 4th, 2014, 01:56 PM   #3528
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You can't empirically measure "pleasantness" of using public transport and compare that across cities.

The main objective of public transport is to move people around in the most efficient manner. Having a pleasant ride is not the primary objective unless you are taking a taxi.
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Old April 4th, 2014, 05:12 PM   #3529
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Punctuality, frequency, time to platform, train comfort, congestion, time to board, operating hours, cost, public transport connections, bicycle racks, buses, airport connection, peak charges, air con, train suspension, mobile / wifi coverage, weekend closures, commuting time, passenger satisfaction, ridership, energy efficiency, age of trains, reliability, interchanges (time/distance to change between trains), seats:standing, heating, sign languages, information centres..

There is not one single way to compare, which is why they used a range of different things. Maybe you disagree with their methodology but it certainly is possible to make comparisons.

Personally I like that there are underground convenience stores in Seoul so you can grab a cold beer/hot coffee/sandwich whilst you transfer - the convenience of the convenience stores made big a difference to my morning and evening commute
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Old April 4th, 2014, 07:22 PM   #3530
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Ride quality and convenience are lacking here - as I pointed out with station retail. The time comparison I gave between cycling and public transport illustrates the problem. Here is an example: I travel between the two biggest universities in the city - Stockholm University which is close to where I live and Karolinska Institutet. Normally universities are well served by public transport, but the connections between these rely upon a very radial network - you go to the centre and come back out and make four changes (two different metro lines and two buses), or you rely upon an inconvenient and more infrequent connection and make one change (two buses). Both of these institutions are in the central city area. If that doesn't highlight problems with using a network I don't know what does (PS: all trips I make are either cycling, walking or public transport, so I know the network here pretty much inside-out and having used it for almost three years I feel quite confident making this statement).

Anyway, since you mention criteria of the study, let's look at their criteria:

Financial Attractiveness: 4 marks
Share of public transport in modal split: 6 marks
Share of zero-emission modes in modal split: 6 marks
Road density: 4 marks
Cycle path network density: 6 marks
Urban agglomeration density: 2 marks
Smart card penetration: 6 marks
Bike sharing performance: 6 marks
Car sharing performance: 6 marks
Public transport frequency: 6 marks
Initiatives of public sector: 6 marks
Transport related CO2 emissions: 4 marks
NO2 concentration: 4 marks
PM10 concentration: 4 marks
Traffic related fatalities: 6 marks
Increase of share public transport in modal split: 6 marks
Increase of share of zero-emission modes: 6 marks
Mean travel time to work: 6 marks
Dnesity of vehicles registered: 6 marks

As you can see, a few of these measures firstly favour cities that are smaller (mean travel time to work) or have no industry (NO2 and PM10 concentration). Having a score for density of roads is a bit odd too. Cycle path network density is a bit difficult too given that in Japan, for example, it is normal to cycle on the paths which are wide, whereas that is forbidden in many places. In Tokyo, to use an example, only on the busiest streets are there separate bike lanes because they are required. The rest are mixed traffic and it works well. Another measure (bike sharing performance) assumes that people don't own their own bike, nor can they transport it on public transport as in the case in Berlin or other German cities. Car sharing isn't important in a number of cities - many cities with high public transport use compliment this with delivery services for those who need bulk goods (Takkyubin for example in Japan), so adding weight to these factors doesn't say anything about the quality of transport for the average person. The category of "increase of share public transport in modal split" assumes a low basal level - so if you are an improving city moving from 20% PT to 40% PT, you score better than a city that was 69% moving to 70% PT, though equally this is somewhat matched with the second criteria, but it seems odd to weight this so heavily.Also, for frequency of public transport, do you know how they calculated it? They took the most heavily used metro line and looked at the frequency. HOW does that give you a network impression?

Sorry, I could go on, but it just seems a bit of an odd way to gauge a transportation network and how "good" it is for those living there. I mean ranking Osaka lower than Melbourne, Chicago, Chennai, Dubai, Sydney, Kolkata and Caracas (to pull a few quick names out the list) and right next to Los Angeles - don't you think that's a little bizarre? I do, but what do I know...

Last edited by Svartmetall; April 4th, 2014 at 07:43 PM.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 12:44 PM   #3531
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Tariff adjustments: Perception and reality
3 April 2014
China Daily

Tariff adjustments by public utility enterprises in Hong Kong are always controversial. Every year the two power companies and the MTR Corporation ask for price adjustments. This has become usual practice. To many people, such fare adjustments are bad news. Often, they voice their discontent and many opinion leaders also advocate tougher controls on public utility companies by the government. However, this request for greater government controls over price adjustments is without grounds.

Any price adjustments by public enterprises should be legal, reasonable and acceptable. However, the public often does not believe they are. This, therefore, makes price adjustments by public utility enterprises a never ending source of debate.

From a legal perspective, price adjustments by all public utility enterprises are lawful. Take the Scheme of Control (SoC) Agreement of the two power companies. The SoC specifies the requirements on the operations of the two power companies, and the way to calculate a return. Every detail contained in the SoC, signed between the government and the power companies, is legally binding. So for the power companies, the annual tariff adjustment is a legitimate claim outlined in the SoC document. So when the two power companies request a tariff adjustment in accordance with requirements of the SoC, it is totally legal. In Hong Kong, we respect the rule of law and have strong sense of contract enforcement. Hence, we cannot deny the rights of the power companies to adjust tariffs.

The situation involving other public utility enterprises is similar. The MTR has a Fare Adjustment Mechanism which was passed by the Legislative Council. Kowloon Motor Bus Co has a similar mechanism. Even the Housing Authority has a system of rental adjustments for public housing. Therefore, requests for price adjustments by public utility enterprises are all legal.

The request for price adjustments by public enterprises come from cost increases. When we examine requests by public enterprises, it is not surprising to find cost increases are the most cited reason for such a request. In current years, inflation is a real concern and no doubt operating costs of public utility enterprises rise. Take the two power companies as an example. The power tariff contains an element called fuel adjustment - which is actually the cost of fuel. If fuel cost rises, the power companies can, and have the right to, pass this increase on to consumers. Also, if the increase in tariffs is mainly due to increases in costs (and the power companies are not requesting higher prices for higher profits) it is not unreasonable for the two power companies to ask for tariff raises. Whether people agree about this is another matter.

The real problem lies in the acceptability of price increases by public utility enterprises. For most Hong Kong people, the public utility enterprises appear to be earning huge profits year after year. Yet, they still ask for price increases. This gives people the impression the profits of public enterprises are excessive. However, this is more a perception than a reality. Nevertheless, it is this perception which causes problems. Even though public enterprises are legitimate and have good reasons for price increases, people cannot accept those increases. When public enterprises are talking about their legal rights, people also cannot accept their arguments. They will look at the issue of acceptability rather than of legitimacy and reason. This has happened year after year, and there is no sign of any solution yet.

The real danger of such contradictory views is the public has very different views from the elites on controversial issues. This also illustrates how difficult it is to pursue public policies. Traditional ways of legitimacy and reason are still practiced by many elites and government officials in formulating public policies. However, the public mostly focuses on perception and acceptability. No wonder conflict occurs. The government will always have a hard time fighting public opinion based on perceptions. There are many tough battles ahead.

The author is dean of the School of Business at Hang Seng Management College.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 02:30 PM   #3532
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
Ride quality and convenience are lacking here - as I pointed out with station retail. The time comparison I gave between cycling and public transport illustrates the problem. Here is an example: I travel between the two biggest universities in the city - Stockholm University which is close to where I live and Karolinska Institutet. Normally universities are well served by public transport, but the connections between these rely upon a very radial network - you go to the centre and come back out and make four changes (two different metro lines and two buses), or you rely upon an inconvenient and more infrequent connection and make one change (two buses). Both of these institutions are in the central city area. If that doesn't highlight problems with using a network I don't know what does (PS: all trips I make are either cycling, walking or public transport, so I know the network here pretty much inside-out and having used it for almost three years I feel quite confident making this statement).

Anyway, since you mention criteria of the study, let's look at their criteria:

Financial Attractiveness: 4 marks
Share of public transport in modal split: 6 marks
Share of zero-emission modes in modal split: 6 marks
Road density: 4 marks
Cycle path network density: 6 marks
Urban agglomeration density: 2 marks
Smart card penetration: 6 marks
Bike sharing performance: 6 marks
Car sharing performance: 6 marks
Public transport frequency: 6 marks
Initiatives of public sector: 6 marks
Transport related CO2 emissions: 4 marks
NO2 concentration: 4 marks
PM10 concentration: 4 marks
Traffic related fatalities: 6 marks
Increase of share public transport in modal split: 6 marks
Increase of share of zero-emission modes: 6 marks
Mean travel time to work: 6 marks
Dnesity of vehicles registered: 6 marks

As you can see, a few of these measures firstly favour cities that are smaller (mean travel time to work) or have no industry (NO2 and PM10 concentration). Having a score for density of roads is a bit odd too. Cycle path network density is a bit difficult too given that in Japan, for example, it is normal to cycle on the paths which are wide, whereas that is forbidden in many places. In Tokyo, to use an example, only on the busiest streets are there separate bike lanes because they are required. The rest are mixed traffic and it works well. Another measure (bike sharing performance) assumes that people don't own their own bike, nor can they transport it on public transport as in the case in Berlin or other German cities. Car sharing isn't important in a number of cities - many cities with high public transport use compliment this with delivery services for those who need bulk goods (Takkyubin for example in Japan), so adding weight to these factors doesn't say anything about the quality of transport for the average person. The category of "increase of share public transport in modal split" assumes a low basal level - so if you are an improving city moving from 20% PT to 40% PT, you score better than a city that was 69% moving to 70% PT, though equally this is somewhat matched with the second criteria, but it seems odd to weight this so heavily.Also, for frequency of public transport, do you know how they calculated it? They took the most heavily used metro line and looked at the frequency. HOW does that give you a network impression?

Sorry, I could go on, but it just seems a bit of an odd way to gauge a transportation network and how "good" it is for those living there. I mean ranking Osaka lower than Melbourne, Chicago, Chennai, Dubai, Sydney, Kolkata and Caracas (to pull a few quick names out the list) and right next to Los Angeles - don't you think that's a little bizarre? I do, but what do I know...
Have a more holistic view, and consider the relationship between various factors. I doubt the top-ranked cities will score well in all areas. The fact that so many different metrics are considered gives cities that excel in some specific areas a chance to effectively compete. You can do well in car-sharing but poorly in smart card penetration. Using this basket of factors means everyone gets averaged out somehow. The winners will be those that have gone innovative in multiple areas, which makes perfect sense.

Bike or car sharing in large cities don't generally work simply due to the sheer size of these cities and the huge flow of people. Yet these are good things to have so including them makes sense for a holistic view. All these factors contribute to a sustainable and effective public transport system. Notice the larger a city gets, the harder it is to implement 0-emission modes (6 marks), car-sharing (6 marks), bike-sharing (6 marks), mean travel time to work (6 marks), and cycle path density (6 marks). These cities are already 30% disadvantaged on this methodology, giving smaller ones a chance to really compete despite their inherent limitations.

From the EPA :

"NO2 forms quickly from emissions from cars, trucks and buses, power plants, and off-road equipment."

"Particulate matter is the term for solid or liquid particles found in the air. Some particles are large or dark enough to be seen as soot or smoke. Others are so small they can be detected only with an electron microscope. Because particles originate from a variety of mobile and stationary sources (diesel trucks, woodstoves, power plants, etc.), their chemical and physical compositions vary widely."

Both NO2 and PM10 have a direct causal relationship to vehicle use.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 02:50 PM   #3533
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Have a more holistic view, and consider the relationship between various factors. I doubt the top-ranked cities will score well in all areas. The fact that so many different metrics are considered gives cities that excel in some specific areas a chance to effectively compete. You can do well in car-sharing but poorly in smart card penetration. Using this basket of factors means everyone gets averaged out somehow. The winners will be those that have gone innovative in multiple areas, which makes perfect sense.
But how does it relate to the actual usefulness of a transport network? Like I said about how they measure frequency of transport - taking the most frequently used metro line and looking at how frequently that runs does not give you an impression of a system. It seems like a stupid measure to use to me.

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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Bike or car sharing in large cities don't generally work simply due to the sheer size of these cities and the huge flow of people. Yet these are good things to have so including them makes sense for a holistic view. All these factors contribute to a sustainable and effective public transport system. Notice the larger a city gets, the harder it is to implement 0-emission modes (6 marks), car-sharing (6 marks), bike-sharing (6 marks), mean travel time to work (6 marks), and cycle path density (6 marks). These cities are already 30% disadvantaged on this methodology, giving smaller ones a chance to really compete despite their inherent limitations.
Exactly, this is my point. Large cities are penalised compared to smaller cities. If you end up with a small city with a reasonable network and all of these initiatives (like Stockholm) then suddenly your city jumps to the head of the queue ahead of cities that are larger, have better developed transport networks and are actually far easier to get around for public transport users than these smaller cities.

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From the EPA :

"NO2 forms quickly from emissions from cars, trucks and buses, power plants, and off-road equipment."

"Particulate matter is the term for solid or liquid particles found in the air. Some particles are large or dark enough to be seen as soot or smoke. Others are so small they can be detected only with an electron microscope. Because particles originate from a variety of mobile and stationary sources (diesel trucks, woodstoves, power plants, etc.), their chemical and physical compositions vary widely."

Both NO2 and PM10 have a direct causal relationship to vehicle use.
And industry in general. This is why I said if a city lacks industry then evidently it will do better than a city with a good base of industry. Stockholm has no heavy industry in the city at all. Is it of any surprise, then, that it has the cleanest air in the survey? Not only that, but cities that are sprawled will naturally do better than cities that are dense in this measure too. A dense city concentrates pollution, whereas a sprawled city might produce more pollution overall, but less in a concentrated area.

Being holistic is all well and good, but like I said, I find it hard to infer which city has the "best" transport approach from such methodology.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 04:16 PM   #3534
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Quote:
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But how does it relate to the actual usefulness of a transport network? Like I said about how they measure frequency of transport - taking the most frequently used metro line and looking at how frequently that runs does not give you an impression of a system. It seems like a stupid measure to use to me.
The Future of Urban Mobility is not just about the public transport network, but how people get around efficiently. A lot of the considerations can be argued both ways. If you average out all the frequencies, it would dampen out efficiency along the main trunk lines, which means a good network with multiple sub-branches and redundancy built-in will be penalized as passengers spread out and frequencies can be reduced.

Based on the above reasoning, it can be argued that looking at the entire network, including the sparsely-used ones, would be silly as well.

Quote:
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Exactly, this is my point. Large cities are penalised compared to smaller cities. If you end up with a small city with a reasonable network and all of these initiatives (like Stockholm) then suddenly your city jumps to the head of the queue ahead of cities that are larger, have better developed transport networks and are actually far easier to get around for public transport users than these smaller cities.
At the same time, small cities are also penalized as they will score poorly on financial attractiveness (4 marks), expensive investments such as smart cards (6 marks), frequency (6 marks), and density (2 marks). With a sufficient large variety of factors, both large and small cities become similar on a more level playing field.

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And industry in general. This is why I said if a city lacks industry then evidently it will do better than a city with a good base of industry. Stockholm has no heavy industry in the city at all. Is it of any surprise, then, that it has the cleanest air in the survey? Not only that, but cities that are sprawled will naturally do better than cities that are dense in this measure too. A dense city concentrates pollution, whereas a sprawled city might produce more pollution overall, but less in a concentrated area.
Industrial combustion forms far different types of chemicals and PM particulates. I would be very surprised if any of the cities reviewed have a huge fertilizer and fiber industries where nitric acid needs to be produced, causing NO2. Also, PM10 is not a generic by-product of "industry". Rather, it is quite specific to the metallurgic industry and vehicle exhaust. So the impact of "industry" in general would not necessarily sway that factor to obsolescence.

Notice CO2 is not a factor, probably because of this very reason - how to measure and split out emissions from industry vs. transport?


In fact, looking at the Beijing air quality example, much of its particulate pollution comes from power plants (coal-burning) and vehicle emissions, not industry.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 05:22 PM   #3535
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The Future of Urban Mobility is not just about the public transport network, but how people get around efficiently. A lot of the considerations can be argued both ways. If you average out all the frequencies, it would dampen out efficiency along the main trunk lines, which means a good network with multiple sub-branches and redundancy built-in will be penalized as passengers spread out and frequencies can be reduced.

Based on the above reasoning, it can be argued that looking at the entire network, including the sparsely-used ones, would be silly as well.
No, not necessarily. It isn't beyond mathematical modelling to account for density of habitation compared to frequency, number of connections and model for passenger movement between nodes or other such measures to better look at frequency. That would have been a far better way to look at "frequency" than simply taking one line out of a metro system and going "bam, that is obviously representative". Stockholm has a "line" called the green line that actually consists of three lines through one central corridor. If you look at the frequency of the "green line" then you get a train every 2-3 minutes, ergo the frequency looks amazing. Never mind the fact that on average, off-peak a train appears on every branch every 10 minutes. It just doesn't really mean much to look at the most frequent part of the network...

Quote:
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At the same time, small cities are also penalized as they will score poorly on financial attractiveness (4 marks), expensive investments such as smart cards (6 marks), frequency (6 marks), and density (2 marks). With a sufficient large variety of factors, both large and small cities become similar on a more level playing field.
Not really. Plenty of smaller cities are dense (look at Spanish cities) and plenty of larger cities are sprawled (Phoenix et al). Financial attractiveness is more related to density, subsidies afforded by the local governments, petrol prices set by the national government et al, not by how large or small the city is. I wouldn't say that is a level playing field.

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Industrial combustion forms far different types of chemicals and PM particulates. I would be very surprised if any of the cities reviewed have a huge fertilizer and fiber industries where nitric acid needs to be produced, causing NO2. Also, PM10 is not a generic by-product of "industry". Rather, it is quite specific to the metallurgic industry and vehicle exhaust. So the impact of "industry" in general would not necessarily sway that factor to obsolescence.

Notice CO2 is not a factor, probably because of this very reason - how to measure and split out emissions from industry vs. transport?


In fact, looking at the Beijing air quality example, much of its particulate pollution comes from power plants (coal-burning) and vehicle emissions, not industry.
I count power generation as "industry". Again, Stockholm has little to none of that given it's power is nuclear and hydroelectric in origin. Most NO2 in the US is not produced by transportation, though - only 5%. The chemical industry produces 9% (along with industry), so that rather negates your point about its importance.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 07:06 PM   #3536
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Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
No, not necessarily. It isn't beyond mathematical modelling to account for density of habitation compared to frequency, number of connections and model for passenger movement between nodes or other such measures to better look at frequency. That would have been a far better way to look at "frequency" than simply taking one line out of a metro system and going "bam, that is obviously representative". Stockholm has a "line" called the green line that actually consists of three lines through one central corridor. If you look at the frequency of the "green line" then you get a train every 2-3 minutes, ergo the frequency looks amazing. Never mind the fact that on average, off-peak a train appears on every branch every 10 minutes. It just doesn't really mean much to look at the most frequent part of the network...
There is always a need to strike a balance in any data analysis. The optimal way is to track each passenger's journey time vs. distance to derive an efficiency figure. But that is nearly impossible as not every system has such data available. But then, if you look at the best frequency in every system, they will overestimate performance rather than disadvantage smaller cities. I'd imagine even the smaller systems can sustain high-frequency schedules during rush hour. If we look at overall averages, I think it will disadvantage the smaller systems moreso than the current methodology.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
Not really. Plenty of smaller cities are dense (look at Spanish cities) and plenty of larger cities are sprawled (Phoenix et al). Financial attractiveness is more related to density, subsidies afforded by the local governments, petrol prices set by the national government et al, not by how large or small the city is. I wouldn't say that is a level playing field.
Financial attractiveness of public transport is defined on the report as :
- Ratio between the price of a 5 km journey with private means of transport and the price of a 5 km journey with public transport within the agglomeration area
- Private means of transport: car or motorcycle, depending on what vehicle type dominates in modal split
- Cost of journey with motorized individual transport: fuel cost only, based on fuel consumption and fuel price including taxes; average for gasoline and diesel cost taken
- Cost of public transport journey: ticket cost for a 5 km distance trip

Hence, the overhead costs would eat in rather quickly for smaller systems. Sprawl adds tremendously to costs as infrastructure needs to extend to less dense areas where financial attractiveness diminishes further.

Notice government subsidies are not directly considered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
I count power generation as "industry". Again, Stockholm has little to none of that given it's power is nuclear and hydroelectric in origin. Most NO2 in the US is not produced by transportation, though - only 5%. The chemical industry produces 9% (along with industry), so that rather negates your point about its importance.
You need to compare urban pollution data. A national percentage for the US is not applicable to the levels and sources of pollution in cities. The major sources of NO2 are combustion processes in heating, power generation, and vehicle exhaust. Hence, it's not surprising cities are a hotbed of NO2 pollution due to vehicle ownership in a concentrated area. Stockholm would not be an exception. PM10 and NO2 in Stockholm are regularly tracked : http://www.slb.nu/nu_Urban_eng.shtml

The Australians previously published "most of the nitrogen dioxide in cities comes from motor vehicle exhaust (about 80%)." (link)

Hence, NO2 is definitely a very relevant factor with direct correlation to an efficient mobile city of the future.
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Old April 9th, 2014, 07:30 AM   #3537
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Bumps ahead on Hong Kong's transport road
SCMP Editorial
8 April 2014

A global study's conclusion that Hong Kong has the "most advanced urban mobility system in the world" comes as no surprise to visitors and residents who have lived overseas. They are bedazzled by trains and buses that leave every few minutes and routes that cover even the remotest village. But while we can be proud that we have topped the 84-city list, it would be a mistake to rest on our laurels. A relentless annual rise in the number of vehicles and high levels of transport-related air pollution threaten our ranking as well as efficiency.

The report by international consultancy firm Arthur D. Little highlights the MTR, Octopus card system and low car usage among factors making Hong Kong a public mobility leader. Praising the first two is understandable: few railways are as easy to use, inexpensive, dependable and clean as the MTR, while the Octopus system has revolutionised the way we pay fares and bills. The government's policy of encouraging public transport use through high fees and taxes for private vehicle ownership has kept numbers low, but the approach is no longer effective. Thousands of new cars are taking to the roads each year, worsening the gridlock and slowing buses and taxis.

A relentless tide of tourists from the mainland is straining MTR services. Roadside levels of nitrogen dioxide and small particulates from old diesel buses and trucks remain unacceptably high and have been increasing. The study also faulted the low number of bicycle paths and facilities, citing the transportation mode as being good for health and cutting air pollution. Bicycles are generally not on the authorities' public transport radar, though; beyond a few parts of the New Territories they are seen as being worthy only for leisure.

A better co-ordinated overall transport strategy would improve efficiency. Reducing traffic congestion through road pricing should be considered; getting polluting vehicles off roads is essential. As in other cities, bicycles should be seen as a transportation mode. Topping a world ranking is good for egos, but more important is ensuring that what we have works well.
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Old April 11th, 2014, 05:51 AM   #3538
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Kowloon's 1,000-year secrets are revealed
The Standard
Friday, April 11, 2014









Hong Kong 1,000 years ago was a salt production center and bustled with traders.

Historians take these insights from a trove of relics found recently in the Kowloon City area.

Major finds included buildings and wells from the Song dynasty plus coins and porcelain.

The relics were unearthed during work on the MTR's Central- Sha Tin link in Kowloon City.

Lauded historian Siu Kwok- kin, who heads Chu Hai College of Higher Education's Centre for Hong Kong History and Culture Studies, said: "Those relics provide more information for us to understand Hong Kong's history in the Song era and more proof it was more than a fishing village.

"It shows there was hectic business activity in [today's] Kowloon City area."

From the Song to the Ming dynasties, Siu said, "salt was produced along the Kowloon City coastal areas. As there was salt trading, there were officials and business people there. That explains why certain relics and wells were found, suggesting established settlement."

Also, Siu said, Hong Kong's major role in producing salt lasted for a long time - from the Song through to the Ming dynasties.

Experts commissioned by the MTR Corp submitted an interim report on an archeological survey and excavations to the government on Monday.

Close to 240 features were listed, including eight stone buildings and seven others, 151 ditches, 49 ponds and pits, five wells and 16 burial points.

Among most important finds is a square-shaped well from the Song dynasty (960 to 1279) and said to be in very good condition.

As there will not be any excavation or construction work near the well, the experts recommend preserving it in place. Meantime, to protect it from erosion the well has been covered again.

With smaller relics, there have been more than 3,000 finds. These include opium containers, porcelain and pottery. Coins have been dated from 618AD.

The excavations went through three historical layers, from the 1920s to the 1960s, the late Qing to the Republic of China, and the Song-Yuan dynasties.
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Old April 23rd, 2014, 06:44 PM   #3539
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LCQ4: Railway safety
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Albert Ho Chun-yan and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (April 9):

Question:

Recently, the occurrence of incidents one after another involving the railway systems of the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL), coupled with the press reports that some of the newly procured MTR trains may contain materials harmful to the human body, have aroused public concerns about the safety of railway systems. Regarding the monitoring of the safety of railway systems, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the details of the follow-up actions taken by the Railways Branch of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) last year in respect of each railway incident (including whether it accepted the reports submitted by MTRCL, and whether it conducted further investigations into the contents of these reports, etc.), and set out such information in a table;

(b) apart from inspecting the trains before their formal commissioning and monitoring through the government representatives on the Board of Directors of MTRCL, whether the Government has, at present, requested MTRCL to provide, on a regular basis, information on the quality of the newly procured trains (including the technical problems encountered in the tests conducted at the manufacturing sites); if it has not, whether it will consider requesting MTRCL to provide such information; and

(c) given that the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) is expected to be commissioned in 2015, whether the Government knows the present progress of the procurement of XRL trains (including whether technical or design problems have been identified in the tests on the trains); if it knows, of the details; if not, whether the Government will request MTRCL to allow the direct participation of or supervision by EMSD staff in the tests on the trains conducted outside Hong Kong?

Reply:

President,

The operation of a safe, reliable and efficient railway service is paramount to the public transport system in Hong Kong. With respect to train service reliability, the number of incidents of 8 minutes or above caused by equipment failure or human factors of the railway network (MTR) operated by the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) was 143 last year, the lowest since the rail merger in December 2007. Despite not showing any downward trend in the safety and reliability of MTR train service in accordance with the overall statistics, the Government considers that, under the service-oriented premise, immediate and in-depth investigation into every train service incident must be carried out by MTRCL, followed by improvement measures to prevent future recurrence. Being the railway safety regulator, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) will also conduct investigations and follow up with MTRCL.

As the causes of the recent major service disruption incidents were respectively attributable to the installation of overhead lines and the quality of insulators used, the successive occurrence of these incidents may be a sign of systemic defects of the overhead line system. As such, we believe that an in-depth review by an independent expert is necessary for public reassurance. The Government agrees with MTRCL's engagement of an overseas independent expert to conduct a comprehensive review on the MTR overhead line system, covering technical specifications, procurement, quality control, installation and repairs/maintenance.

In parallel, EMSD will actively participate in MTRCL's tests of the insulators and verify the findings. EMSD will also engage an independent expert to evaluate the outcome of the MTRCL's expert review. The participation of double independent experts in the review will ensure an in-depth, comprehensive, objective and professional study. Upon the completion of the two expert reports, the Government will, having regard to the findings, decide whether there is a need to expand the scope of the review to cover other areas of the MTR network.

Regarding the news reports on possible asbestos content on MTR trains, it is specifically stated in MTRCL's procurement contracts that no material containing asbestos can be used in the manufacture of trains. To ease public concerns, MTRCL has followed the Environmental Protection Department's guidelines on asbestos testing and arranged a Hong Kong laboratory to conduct tests on 22 trains newly purchased from the Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd. and 10 trains to be operated along the future South Island Line (East). The test results confirmed that the trains are asbestos-free. MTRCL will continue to strive for good quality control of its trains, to ensure compliance of the contractual requirement of no asbestos content on trains. The factory-based MTR personnel will from time to time remind the manufacturers to adhere strictly to such requirement.

My reply to the various parts of Hon Albert Ho's question is as follows:

(a) Whenever there are incidents concerning railway safety requiring investigation, the Railways Branch (RB) of EMSD will carry out inspections to find out the causes, identify appropriate improvement measures to prevent recurrence, and ensure that MTRCL has duly and fully implemented them.

Under the Mass Transit Railway Regulations (Cap. 556A), MTRCL shall report to RB all safety-related incidents that take place within the railway premises. MTRCL submitted 671 investigation reports on railway incidents (Note) to RB in 2013, describing details of the incidents, assessment by MTRCL and follow-up actions taken. RB will review all incident investigation reports and, if necessary, seek additional information from MTRCL. In case of major railway incidents that may undermine railway safety, RB will make further investigations. In 2013, RB issued to the MTRCL a total of 20 recommendations, mainly on improvements to station equipment, rail tracks, tunnels, trains and power systems. MTRCL has accepted and followed up on all these recommendations.

The above mentioned railway incidents can be correlated to equipment and human factors of staff members, passenger or public behavioural factors as well as external factors. The breakdown of last year's incidents categorised by their causes is as follows:

Causes of incidents Number of incidents in 2013
------------------- ---------------------------
Equipment failure 17

Staff behaviour 44

Passenger or 578
public behaviour

External factors 32
--------------------------------------------------
Total 671

Among these incidents, over 90% were caused by passenger or public behaviour and other external factors, including passengers requiring transferring to hospitals due to sicknesses, passengers making last-minute entry/exit being caught by the closing train doors, trespassing on railway tracks, and train operation being affected by fallen trees during typhoon. The remaining cases (less than 10%) are attributable to the failure of railway equipment and staff behaviour.

(b) All along, MTRCL adopts rigorous quality management procedures for testing newly purchased trains to validate their compliance with performance standards. Such tests include the basic quality checks, dimensional checks, functional tests (e.g. tests on braking and traction systems, train door operation, communication function, train control function and watertightness, etc.), and running operational tests to confirm that the trains are manufactured according to the design and relevant standards. All new trains will only be put into service after they have passed all the required safety and performance tests and received approval from EMSD and the Transport Department.

MTRCL staff are deployed to oversee the key production processes in the factories of system suppliers and manufacturers. Suppliers are required to submit test results to MTRCL, and MTRCL will attend and witness functional tests of different systems and components, such as the traction system, train doors, braking system, pantographs and trainborne signalling system, etc. MTRCL also appoints international experts as independent safety auditors to verify the designs and testing processes of safety-related equipment and systems, including train doors, traction system, couplers, trainborne signalling system, interface of signalling system, wheels and axles, etc. This is to ensure that the procedures comply with international safety specifications.

Upon arrival in Hong Kong, new trains are subject to the static and dynamic tests to validate that their operation integrates with the existing infrastructure and railway system.

The various tests as set out above are conducted by MTRCL on newly purchased trains to identify any irregularities for immediate rectification. EMSD will also pay close attention to participate timely in on-site tests conducted in Hong Kong. Trains are put into service only if their safe operation is confirmed after stringent validation.

(c) MTRCL has been entrusted by the Government to implement the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL). Construction of the Hong Kong section of XRL commenced in January 2010 and is targeted for completion in 2015. Thereafter, testing and trial runs of the railway systems (taking six to nine months in general) will be conducted to ensure safety and reliability of the railway service before the XRL is open.

Railway safety has always been our top priority in taking forward the XRL project. The regulation of various aspects of railway safety in Hong Kong is based on relevant international standards, including EN15227 (the European Union standard on crashworthiness for trains). MTRCL is required to submit relevant information to EMSD to prove that when the train is operating in actual conditions, its safety performance can achieve the safety level of international standards. The trains of the Hong Kong section of XRL are manufactured by CSR Qingdao Sifang Co., Ltd. MTRCL has been supervising closely the design and manufacturing process of the trains and signalling system; and has introduced monitoring measures and independent expert assessments throughout the various processes so as to ensure compliance with international safety standards and Mainland railway safety requirements.

Prior to the opening of the Hong Kong section of the XRL, new trains will have to pass multiple testing, including factory acceptance test, system integration test and on-site test, to ensure that the trains have achieved the required safety level in accordance with international standards. EMSD will assess the test reports submitted by MTRCL and take part in the on-site test in Hong Kong before approving the operation of the new trains.

The first XRL train has been assembled and is undergoing testing in the Mainland. Main-frame assembly of the second and third XRL trains commenced in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Note: Excluding incidents involving escalators, lifts and other facilities outside the platform and track areas.

Ends/Wednesday, April 9, 2014
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Old May 4th, 2014, 11:08 AM   #3540
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I find it annoying that their going to destroy 2 of the wells!
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